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Distinguished audience, ladies and gentlemen
I am very happy to be entrusted with this historic task. For more than 10 years these countries have gone through hard work and a complete overhaul of the former communist structures. This very speedy development has had its costs. But now countries are getting ready to enter our family of democratic and market based societies. We must be ready to receive them. Together we will create “One Europe”. To the benefit of all Europeans.
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The enlargement will not be the only task ahead. We face a full and highly substantial agenda in other areas as well. Also here we will try to be a focused and professional Presidency.
The other four headlines for our Presidency are:
· First: greater freedom, security and justice: the fight against terrorism, crime and illegal immigration.
We are facing new types of crimes unknown to most of us just a few years ago: global terrorism, trafficking in human beings and child pornography on the Internet. These are problems of a cross-border nature. They must be dealt with through stronger cooperation at European and global level.
We will also follow up upon the Seville decision to strengthen co-operation on asylum, immigration and border control. The conclusions are concrete and balanced and constitute a very good basis for our Presidency.
I was very satisfied with the Seville decisions and look forward to implementing them during the Danish Presidency. We are addressing some real problems, and there are increasing popular worries about immigration problems. Responsible politicians are obliged to react to this.
· Second, sustainable development. We must continue to develop our societies: economically, socially and environmentally.
A strong and competitive European economy is a prerequisite for growth, welfare and sustainable development. Otherwise we will fall behind in the global competition – not least in comparison to the USA.
Only through continuing liberalisation and a full implementation of the internal market will we be able to meet the demands of the future.
· Third, Safe food: Midterm review of our Common Agricultural Policy and a new Fisheries Policy.
We will address the Mid Term Review of the CAP constructively and seek to take the work as far as possible. The negotiations on enlargement and on the mid term review must follow separate tracks. Both tracks are important. But they must not be linked.
We will also deal with the review of the common fisheries policy. The goal is to have a final decision on the most important parts by the end of 2002. The proposals from the Commission are a good basis for that.
· Finally, the global responsibility of the EU, including the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Two elements deserve to be highlighted:
The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg will be an important opportunity to help develop a new model of global sustainable development. The EU must play a central role in Johannesburg and I welcome the signal sent from Seville to this effect.
The ASEM 4 Summit will be held in Copenhagen in late September. We will discuss key economic, political and social issues. Together the heads of state and government from the 25 countries represents 2 billion people and a very large share of world trade.
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I will now come back to enlargement to give you a more precise idea about our plans.
We have formulated the ambition on the finalisation of enlargement negotiations as a completion of the circle “From Copenhagen To Copenhagen”. This of course refers to the fact that it was in Copenhagen in 1993 that the basic principles for the enlargement process were defined. And we now have a chance to conclude negotiations in Copenhagen by the end of this year.
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the new European democracies formulated visions of becoming members of the European Union. Responsible politicians in Western Europe supported these aspirations.
The fall of the Berlin Wall became the symbol of the end of communism in Europe. Barbed wire, snipers, dogs and tanks should no longer divide Europe. People should no longer be deprived of their most fundamental rights. A corrupt and suppressive political culture should no longer prevail to the detriment of the people.
If you think back, I am sure that most of you will remember the feeling of freedom and a new start for Europe in the years from 1989 to 91. It was against this historic background we initiated the enlargement process.
Just as we thought that nationalism, aggression and war had become unthinkable in Europe, we became witnesses to the brutal conflicts in the Balkans. This demonstrated that lasting peace in Europe would only come about through the unification of Europe.
Now we must deliver on the promises. We have a historic and moral obligation to seize the present opportunity to consolidate peace and create the basis for progress across the entire continent.
But enlargement of the EU is not only a question of historic responsibility and moral duty. It is also about promoting trade and higher economic growth in all our societies.
Enlargement will produce increased growth in the new Member States. Competition will become stronger and productivity will increase in all countries – also the present Member States. One of the most important factors behind this development will be a strong increase in trade between existing and future members of the Union. In my own country, Denmark, we have witnessed a strong development in our trade with the new democratic and market based countries. But there is room for much larger trade as the economic development continues in these countries.
I firmly believe that enlargement constitutes a “win-win situation”. Everybody will benefit from enlargement.
We recognise that it will be no easy task to actually close negotiations by December. Candidate countries as well as existing Member States must be willing to show flexibility. To make compromises. A successful outcome of the negotiations in Copenhagen requires the commitment of all involved. The intention, will and energy of the Presidency is not enough.
Now that Denmark has taken over the Presidency, I would like to give you an idea about our timetable:
· It is our ambition to close all outstanding issues that are not related to the financial package during July and September.
· The European Council meeting in the autumn will be a decisive moment. The Commission reports on the candidate countries are expected in October. In Brussels we will decide which countries are ready for membership. We will also settle outstanding financial issues and the institutional chapters, so that we can present positions to the candidate countries on all outstanding issues, including the question of direct payments, by early November at the latest.
· The period between the Brussels meeting and the summit in Copenhagen should be spent on negotiations with candidate countries. The important point is that we will need some weeks before the December European Council for these negotiations. These are sensitive issues – also in candidate countries. Therefore, we cannot wait until December for EU to decide on these issues.
The Presidency will naturally focus very much on negotiations with those countries that are able to conclude negotiations in December. But when we conclude negotiations with this group of countries we must not forget those that are not ready to finalise their negotiations.
Already now we know that this group will include Bulgaria and Romania. The situation for these countries was also addressed in Seville. We will have to formulate new and realistic road maps and revised pre-accession strategies for these countries. Increased pre-accession assistance is also a possibility as well as a more precise timetable for their accession. Resolute continuation of reforms will be essential for such decisions.
Concerning the last of the candidate countries – Turkey – continuation of reforms will also be vital. The European Union acknowledges that Turkey has made progress in complying with the political criteria established for accession, in particular through the recent amendment of its constitution. But more needs to be done. Turkish negotiations with the EU can only be opened if and when Turkey fulfils all the necessary criteria. We expect to assess the progress of Turkey and draw appropriate conclusions on that basis in Copenhagen.
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Enlargement must be seen in a greater context. The present enlargement process of the European Union will move the borders of the Union further to the east. I do not have the answer here and now as to how far this process will go on in the future. The question about where the external borders of the European Union will be in 50 years is really not the most interesting one. The process and how to avoid new dividing lines in Europe is much more interesting.
Therefore, another priority of the Danish Presidency will be the relations with Russia and our “new neighbours”: Ukraine, Belarus and in the future Moldova. We will need to formulate new policies towards these countries. Building on the existing programmes we must stimulate a healthy political and economic development in these countries. Working on a closer relationship between the EU’s internal market and their economies seems to me one of the most fruitful ways to proceed.
We will also need to address the specific issues pertaining to Kaliningrad. I hope that we can reach an agreement with Russia based on the Schengen acquis. This question will very likely be a central issue at the EU-Russia Summit in Copenhagen in November.
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We are at an extremely decisive moment. After ten years of reforms. Ten years of hard work that has produced impressive results. Ten years of expectations that should not be disappointed. We must fulfil the promises we have given each other. We must use the historic chance we have been given and finalise the enlargement negotiations before the end of 2002.
The hurdles I have mentioned are indeed impressive. But I am an optimist. We have a historic opportunity to unite our continent by finalising enlargement negotiations in December.
The Danish Presidency will do its utmost to achieve that result. But enlargement is a joint challenge and a joint opportunity. We cannot afford to miss it.
Thank you for your attention.